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Updates from the Oregon Community Food Systems Network. 
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December 2021 Newsletter

OCFSN Fall Convening Recap
We did it! Over 100 folks registered for the Oregon Community Food Systems Network’s Fall Virtual Convening. We shared exciting network-wide updates and heard from 14 of our member organizations. We also invited four speakers to help our network continue to hold itself accountable to pursuing our equity statement:
Oregon Community Food System Network acknowledges that our food system is built and maintained on a foundation of oppression and systemic racism of Native peoples, people of color, and immigrants. Through a coordinated statewide network, we address this historic and systemic inequality in land ownership, food access, and labor by prioritizing the allocation of resources, decision making and power to historically excluded communities. We aim to hold ourselves accountable by building relationships, seeking inclusive participation, and practicing transparency.

Last call to complete this survey to give us feedback! 

Below is a compilation of resources from the Convening.

Day 1 recording includes:

  • 10:00 Welcome Session & Working Group Updates
  • 11:00 Seed Saving & Sustainable Food Production (by: Henry Soto); Start time: 00 hours 51 minutes
  • 2:00 Member Updates

Day 2 recording includes:

  • 10:00 Food Charter Updates (intro portion, breakout groups not captured)
  • 2:00 Member Updates & Convening Closing; Start time: 00 hours 41 minutes

The 2021 OCFSN Convening Notes document includes notes captured during the breakout sessions as well as presentation slides from the speakers. 

We hope we will be able to connect safely in person soon!

Working Group & Committee Updates

DEI Committee

The OCFSN DEI Committee is currently recruiting for new committee members.  If you are interested in engaging with a group of people committed to furthering equity and racial justice within the food system, please consider applying. We currently meet monthly and are working on a new structure for our group. Attached you'll find our current committee charter that will provide more details on the committee and the application. We plan on onboarding new committee members in February 2022.

If you have any questions please contact ocfsn.info@gmail.com.

Farming for the Future

After months of conversation, feedback, and design the OCFSN Leadership Team has approved the merger of the BFR Working Group and the Access to Land Working Group. We will now come together under the umbrella of the "Farming for the Future" Working Group!

We have received funding for a Farming for the Future Coordinator that will oversee and support the entire Working Group, plus the sub-groups, in 2022. In the meantime, we will connect those of you that sign up for each sub-groups so that you can get started organizing and creating what comes next!

Under the Farming for the Future umbrella will be 4 sub-groups:

  1. Beginning Farmer & Rancher
    Members of the Beginning Farmer Rancher Sub-group collaborate to coordinate existing services for Oregon’s beginning farmers and ranchers (BFRs) at all stages of development, between years 0 and 10 years of involvement in agricultural production. The primary focus of this working group is to support BFRs through education and training programs plus available resources and services for this segment of Oregon agriculture.

     
  2. Land Access, Connection & Succession
    This collaborative group concluded a Land Connection Technical Assistance pilot project in late 2020 after members spent a year providing assistance on all aspects of farmland transition, including help searching for the right piece land and the right new farmer, securing financing, developing business plans and agreements, writing leases, and other legal aspects around leasing and purchasing land. They are moving forward with new program development, funding, and setting up regional hubs for land connection assistance and resource navigation.

     
  3. Farm & Land Viability
    This group will focus on farm and land viability looking at ways to support land staying in agricultural production, sustainable farm management, and farm business vitality. Working with other sub-groups, the goal is that there is a growing pipeline of beginning farmers and ranchers can access land to start and grow new farm businesses.

     
  4. Climate, Resilience & Stewardship
    This new sub-group recently came together to organize a statewide disaster relief fund for farmers and ranchers in response to the current drought and wildfire situation throughout Oregon. Creating an emergency fund doesn’t change the resolve to keep fighting against the systems underpinning both big picture problems, it simply gives us a mechanism for an immediate response to emergency situations. Once the fund is established, the sub-group will work on collaborative projects that focus on regenerative agriculture, stewardship, and climate resilience. 
Please SIGN UP for one (or more) of the sub-groups, if you have not done so already!

You can also have others in your organization sign-up too, so that we can all stay connected on this important work. For the time being, this listserv will serve as the communication channel for this new Working Group. Please let me know if you would no longer like to receive updates and communications from this group.


Onward,

Megan Fehrman and Greg Holmes
Current BFR and A2L Working Group Coordinators

Policy Committee

Keeping it short this month…we are gearing up for the 2022 short session of the Oregon Legislature, which starts in February, plus other projects. Our new policy committee intern, OSU Masters in Public Policy graduate Shahinur Bashar, will be jumping back in with us in January. Join us!

Email lauren.gwin@oregonstate.edu with any questions.

Food Hub

We were awarded a two-year planning and design grant by the USDA’s Regional Food System Partnerships Program (RFSP). The goal of this project is to create a set of action plans for regional food system development in Oregon that: (1) identify opportunities for shared infrastructure (physical and human capital), and (2) prioritize, in values and practices, racial equity, climate change resilience, and fair labor practices.

Our partnership centers on an existing network of eight local food hubs who will collaboratively research, train, vision, and plan. These hubs will focus on connecting local growers to local/regional markets and/or on incubating and making local/regional market connections for value-added food businesses. 

Food Hub Cohort for this Project:

  • Gorge Grown Food Network
  • Genuine Wallowa County
  • Food Roots:
  • North Coast Food Web
  • Klamath Farmers Online Marketplace
  • High Desert Food & Farm Alliance: HDFFA will represent the Central Oregon Food Hub Collaborative
  • BIPOC Central Kitchen
  • Bohemia Food Hub

Other Project Partners:

  • Ecotrust
  • Black Food Sovereignty Coalition
  • Oregon Economic Development Districts
  • Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council
  • Oregon Climate and Agriculture Network
  • Oregon Department of Agriculture    
  • Market of Choice

Veggie Rx

Oregon Veggie Rx was featured in a webinar hosted last month by the Nutrition Incentive Hub partners DAISA Enterprises and the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) titled “Building Effective Partnerships for Produce Prescription Programs”. The focus was on sharing strategies for building strong and effective partnerships to support the success of veggie rx programs.

The Veggie Rx team is also currently working on joint program evaluations and a pilot project with Fresh Connect in early 2022.

During the OCFSN November Fall Convening, we held a brief conversation on expanding this working group’s focus to broader food access. We will be continuing this conversation on January 19th from 12-2pm, come join us!

$1.5 million for OCFSN Disaster Relief Fund for Farmers

Senate Bill 5561 Section 15 passed this week!

We had a HUGE WIN this week when the legislature passed Senate Bill 5561 SECTION 15, providing OCFSN’s Disaster Relief Fund with $1.5M to provide direct financial support, in the form of grants, to small-scale & BIPOC farmers impacted by drought, heat, or wildfire, who are unable to access federal disaster relief funds and/or the State’s proposed Forgivable Disaster Loan Program.

This is the first time OCFSN has been named in a piece of state legislation, signifying a major recognition of the importance and value of our network!

SECTION 15. In addition to and not in lieu of any other appropriation, there is appropriated to the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, for the biennium ending June 30, 2023, out of the General Fund, the amount of $1,500,000, for distribution to the Oregon Community Food Systems Network to provide grants to small-scale farmers impacted by drought, heat or wildfire, who are unable to access federal disaster relief funds or loans from the Oregon Agricultural Disaster Relief Fund established under section 5, chapter ____ , Oregon Laws 2021 (second special session) (Enrolled Senate Bill 892). 
Healthy Food Access:
Thinking Beyond Current Nutrition Incentives

We’d like to continue the conversation we started during the Fall Convening on expanding the Veggie Rx & SNAP Match working groups to focus on broader food access (i.e.  culturally relevant food, barriers to access beyond food itself, and more) and invite anyone who is interested in engaging in this topic to join us for a two-hour meeting, Jan 19th from 12-2pm. Come join us to share program ideas, brainstorm ways to collaborate, and identify objectives we can all align and move forward on! 

Full agenda and google calendar invitation to come. You can reach out to ocfsn.info@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Leadership Team Ballot

Ballots have been released and voting members have 6 more days to return ballots by Dec 20, 2021.

Updated Timeline:

  • Nov 30  -  Nomination & Applications due 
  • Dec 6    -  Ballot is released (two weeks to return)
  • Dec 20  -  Ballots due
  • Dec 30  -  Announce new LT members
At least 4 but up to 5 (all) candidates from the following list of nominees are eligible to join the OCFSN leadership team.
  1. Katy Giombolini, Oregon Food Bank (current leadership team member)
  2. Edward Hill, Black Food Sovereignty Coalition (current leadership team member)
  3. Alice Morrison, Friends of Family Farmers
  4. Jason Skipton, Growing Gardens
  5. Jessika Tantisook, North Coast Food Web
New LT members will be announced on Dec 30, 2021.
Resources & Job Opportunities
Events on Our Radar:
  • Healthy Food Access: Thinking beyond current nutrition incentives. OCFSN Veggie Rx group to host a zoom conversation on Jan. 19th (12-2pm). Full agenda and google calendar invitation to come. You can reach out to ocfsn.info@gmail.com if you have any questions.
  • Indigenous Leadership: Ensuring a future for Native Peoples, Cultures, and Lands: hosted by Ecotrust 
  • Black and Brown Farmer Networking Fair: hosted at Core PDX on Feb 5 (12-5pm) and Feb. 6 (12-2pm). 3612 SE 82nd Ave. Portland, OR 97266
Opportunities:
  • 2022 Ecotrust Community Grant Program centering communities of color are open. Apply now.
  • 2022 ODA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program application is open! This is a reimbursement grant available to specialty crop growers or organizations (including non-profits, private companies/firms, producer groups, commissions, and higher education) working to enhance the promotion, consumption and purchasing of Oregon specialty crops in local, domestic and international markets. Funding is also available for specialty crop research & field technology, and nutrition and food access projects.
  • Small-Scale, Local Producers Get Improved Insurance Coverage through New Micro Farm Policy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed the new Micro Farm policy, which simplifies recordkeeping and covers post-production costs like washing and value-added products. Micro Farm is available for the 2022 crop year. Sales closing dates are Jan. 31, 2022, Feb. 28, 2022, or March 15, 2022, depending on the producer’s county. Read full report. 
  • Community Food Projects (CFP) FY 2022 Informational Webinar. FY22 CFP Webinar YouTube link.The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Community Food Projects (CFP) team has published a Grantsmanship webinar on the Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFPCGP) FY2022 Request for Applications (RFA). The webinar focuses on how to utilize NIFA resources and prepare a competitive application, adhering to RFA guidelines. Eligible applicants include public food program service providers, tribal organizations, and private nonprofit entities, including gleaners. First time applicants, returning applicants, and those interested in applying to the CFP program in the future are encouraged to use this resource. The webinar is available on the CFP program page. Applications for Funding Year 2022 are due December 20, 2021, at 5pm EST. To apply, please visit the CFP funding opportunity page. For more information or questions contact the Community Food Projects (CFP) team at: SM.NIFA.CFP@usda.gov.
  • USDA Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) applications due April 5, 2022. Read more here.
  • Oregon Health Authority funding opportunity for Community-Based Organizations applications due Jan 31, 2022. Read more here.

Job Opportunities:
Please reach out to Shin at ocfsn.info@gmail.com with any questions regarding the content of this or future newsletters.
Copyright © 2021 Oregon Community Food Systems Network, All rights reserved.


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